The Search For Perfection

July 9, 2011

As I’ve said in the past, we’re always looking for perfection. We look for it in the landscape we live in. We might try that new restaurant we just heard about in hopes of finding an exquisite concoction. Young people look for it in the hunt for a mate.

The hope is that if we find perfection we’ll find fulness. Again, the unmarried person hopes to find perfection in a mate. Of course, the reason for this is the implicit belief that the perfect person will bring a happy life. People build their homes as close as possible to the crashing surf believing that the view next to the water’s edge will connect deeply on a daily basis. Some people seek to become park rangers in hopes of going to work everyday in a natural sanctuary. When we hear a song we really like we go home and download the album.

You see, it isn’t just that we crave beauty, it is that we have to capture it in some way. We believe so strongly that perfection brings fulness that we have to find some way to not let it escape. Have you ever felt that it was more important to get a good picture than it was to experience the place you were visiting? We can attempt to capture perfection even to our detriment. There is a beautiful home several miles from here that is perfectly nestled in amongst the trees. The boughs of the trees lightly dance on the roof. While the home is in a picturesque setting, it is in a particularly dangerous location. Firefighters would be unable to stop an advancing fire. We have to have our beauty, our perfection fix. After all, perfection brings life.

Of course, when we believe that the perfection found in creation is what we’re really looking for, we have a functional idol. It might not be a sinful thing like immorality, but if we believe that anything other than God will satisfy, we have an idol, a broken cistern. Idols never ultimately satisfy. This explains why we work so hard to get beauty and why we’re always willing to trade up. We can enjoy the goodness of this creation but we must always do it realizing that it is simply a glimpse of the perfection found in our God.

The One our hearts really crave is God. David models this quests for beauty in Psalms 27:4: “One thing have I asked of the LORD, that will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to inquire in his temple.” Deut 32:4 reminds us of God’s perfection: “The Rock, his work is perfect, for all his ways are justice. A God of faithfulness and without iniquity, just and upright is he.” God is the One we’re all really looking for. Everyone and everything else is potentially a broken cistern.

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